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49ers and Cowboys Draw More Viewers Than Any Telecast Since Super Bowl

“It is the second highest-rated Divisional Round game on record.”

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FOX bosses love the Dallas Cowboys and it is easy to understand why. The team has tremendous national appeal. That was evident on Sunday as 45.7 million people tuned in to see the team lose to the San Francisco 49ers in the divisional round of the NFL Playoffs.

The audience is significant. First, it is the second highest-rated Divisional Round game on record. The top spot is held by the Cowboys’ loss to the Packers in 2017. That game drew 45.8 million viewers. It is also the most-watched TV broadcast since the Super Bowl last year.

NFL football is always a ratings driver, but the Cowboys have been at the center of some major milestones this season. Last week, their win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was the most-watched playoff game in ESPN history. On Thanksgiving Day, more than 42 million people tuned in to see the Cowboys take on the Giants, making it the most-watched regular season game in history.

Overall, the Divisional Round continued the positive ratings trend for the NFL. Across all four games, the league averaged 37.1 million viewers. While that is a 3% drop from last year, it is still the third highest-rated Divisional Round of all time.

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Sports TV News

3.72 Million Tune In To See LeBron James Break Scoring Record

Jordan Bondurant

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Lakers star LeBron James surpassed the NBA’s all-time scoring record on Tuesday night, and TNT benefitted from the milestone ratings wise.

According to Sports Media Watch, Tuesday night’s game averaged 2.98 million viewers. That figure made it TNT’s biggest regular season audience in over two years.

The broadcast peaked at 3.72 million around 11:45 p.m. when James passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the record.

Reporting also indicated that the game was the number one single-network program on TV in key demographics.

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Sports TV News

Disney Makes ESPN Independent Division In Corporate Restructuring

Jordan Bondurant

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ESPN

Disney is in the process of reorganizing and restructuring the company, and details have emerged about the company’s plans for ESPN.

Deadline reported on Wednesday that ESPN will be one of three standalone segments comprising Disney. Entertainment and Parks, Experiences & Products are the other two segments.

The reorganization comes amid the exit of former CEO Bob Chapek and the re-entry of CEO Bob Iger. As one of Iger’s first moves back running Disney, he announced a restructuring of Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution.

It was also reported that Jimmy Pitaro will continue as the president of ESPN.

In total, more than 7,000 jobs will be eliminated after the restructuring.

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Sports TV News

Roger Goodell: ‘Wouldn’t Surprise Me’ To See Thursday Night Football Move to Flex Scheduling

“Not today, but it’ll certainly be something that’s on our horizon.”

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Thursday Night Football

In 2023, Monday Night Football will join Sunday Night Football in having the ability to flex NFL games into its window. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Thursday Night Football could someday join that elite club.

During his “State of the League” speech Wednesday, Goodell said Thursday Night Football having the ability to flex matchups “wouldn’t at all surprise me”.

“Not today, but it’ll certainly be something that’s on our horizon,” the NFL Commissioner said.

ESPN bargained for the ability to move higher profile games into Monday Night Football during its negotiations with the league for the next television contract that begins this upcoming season.

NBC has long held the ability to shift a select number of games from earlier windows into the Sunday Night Football primetime slot.

Amazon Prime Video just completed the first of an 11-year contract that sees the streaming platform spend nearly $1 billion per year on the Thursday Night Football package.

One of the largest storylines of Amazon’s debut season with the NFL was the near-constant ridicule from play-by-play announcer Al Michaels over the lackluster TNF schedule. Michaels made headlines over several weeks for his candor on the lack of interesting matchups, going as far as to joke that if the schedule didn’t improve he would retire.

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